Oh what a tale has been woven. It’s hard to believe my Sheppard’s story is done after all these years and probably hundreds of hours of gameplay. The trilogy has had a little bit of everything that every, even casual, sci-fi fan loves. It was with great anticipation, that I picked up my Mass Effect 3 Collector’s Edition pre-order from my local Los Angeles area Gamestop at midnight, even though having worked in retail for many years, I’ve had more than had my fill of that type of nonsensical marketing. Maybe I was just worried that they might sell my copy that had been sold out for weeks.
As much as I will try to be objective in this review, it is bound to be more personal as there has never been a game series that I have invested as much time in. After getting back home, there were a number of DLC codes to enter before seeing where Mass Effect 3 was going to take me. There was a pre-order code, online pass (thanks EA) and the infamous bonus DLC, From Ashes to key in and download. Did I mention that I hate multiple disc steelbooks? I wonder how many discs get broken that first time someone tries to get one out and for the record Mass Effect 3 is on two discs for Xbox 360.
Right from the start, there were a few technical issues. At launch there was a glitch and error with importing my character from the previous Mass Effects although, it mostly transferred intact. All of my previous choices and faithful relationship with Liara, voiced by actress Ali Hillis were imported. Those without an import game have the option of choosing a play type; a straight third person shooter, an extra easy story mode and the standard full featured RPG mode. You can also spend hours customizing the look and story of your male or female Commander Sheppard.
The visually stunning Mass Effect is an American RPG and as such has no problem throwing you straight into the action. Mass Effect 3 picks up a short period of time after ME2 ended and Commander Sheppard has been stripped of command and the trusty Normandy, though my imported character was still a Spectre. After years of warning the galaxy of the impending attack of the apocalypse bearing reapers, no one has taken you seriously…until now.
You are summoned to tell everyone what to do, now that these Reapers, no one believe existed, are torching earth. Quicker than you can tell them all, “I told you so,” the building you’re in is attacked and only you and your friend Anderson are able to escape. After fighting your way to relative safety and calling in an emergency evacuation, Anderson reinstates your command and tells you to get help. The only way anyone will survive is if the whole galaxy pulls together. If this first mission isn’t warning enough, Mass Effect 3 is by far the most combat heavy of the trilogy.
The mechanics, as in Mass Effect 2 are solid, though surprisingly not as fluid, using a hybrid of standard third person shooters and point and click RPGs. The left trigger aims, right trigger shoots and the A button lets you run and get into cover. New to Mass Effect 3 is contextual jumping similar to Legend of Zelda games. Where the controls vary from standard is with the bumpers. The left bumper pauses the combat and pulls up your weapon selection and the right bumper allows targeting and special attack selection for you and your squadmates.
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